Official Confirmation and Happy Holidays!

Yesterday I received my Presidential Commission document, complete with the Great Seal of the Unites States. As I clutched the document in my hands, I couldn’t help but feel incredibly proud and honored to be serving the government and the American people (as hokey as that sounds…).

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The Great Seal is only used on a few commissions – for Foreign Service Officers, Ambassadors and a few others. Additionally, the Seal is used as an instrument of ratification of treaties and other international agreements. So that’s pretty exciting!! I would have hugged the document if it wouldn’t have damaged it…

Every once in awhile, the routine of language training lulls me and I forget what it is I am doing. Then, suddenly I will be jolted back into realizing how amazing this job is. It’s everything I’ve wanted to do in my life, but I didn’t know it until a couple of years ago. It’s strange thinking that this time last year I was preparing for the Oral Assessment.

I’m in a weird period of calm before the storm. Once January hits, I’ll be only a few months away from departure. I’ll need to do tons of paperwork and all the rest that is involved with moving my life (cat included) across the world. It’s a daunting thought, since I’ve been in training non-stop for 7 months now and Bangladesh just hasn’t seemed quite real.

Last week my Bangla class put on a “Gaye Holud” ceremony at one of our instructor’s houses. Gaye Holud s a pre-wedding ceremony that involves smearing tumeric on the brides’ face – ok, it’s way more complicated than that, but you’re not getting the whole explanation out of me. Here’s a description on Wiki. One of the more interesting traditions is dressing a fish up like the bride, as seen below…

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We had fake brides – some gals in my class, but no grooms. I helped cook and we talked in Bangla (mostly…), ate delicious food and watched Bangla TV. Fun was had by all! The purpose of the field trip was to practice our speaking while learning about culture. Mission accomplished.

Other fun happenings: A friend of mine had tickets to the National Tree Lighting and invited me along. At first we were in the standing room only section, since those were the tickets we were allotted. But then a worker started giving out seat-area vouchers. I held up my hand, smiled my sweetest, most hopeful smile, and she let us in! We sat, listened to Michelle Obama tell a story, revelled in Christmas music, AND I saw Obama with my very own eyes. I was delirious with excitement pretty much the entire time. My friends might have gotten tired of me squealing “Ooooh there he is! Can you see him? I see him!!” but they were good sports about it.

My apartment is semi-decorated for the holdays; however, I will be taking my 1 allotted week of leave to go see my family for Christmas and New Years. Alas, diplokitty will have to stay here.

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See you in the New Year!!

 

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